5 horror games to play for Halloween — and not all of them are scary

Jonathan Lee
·4-min read

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There’s no time like Halloween to play a great horror game.

Horror is a broad genre that doesn’t always have to be gloomy and serious — and this list has a horror game for every type of gamer.

It should be noted that not all of the games on this list are scary! In fact, some are downright endearing.

Alien: Isolation is a masterpiece that’s better than most of the movies it’s based on

As far as I’m concerned, this is the greatest horror game ever made.

It stars engineer Amanda Ripley, who is searching for her mother, Ellen Ripley, after the events of Alien (which you should definitely watch). After hearing that her mother’s flight recorder was recovered, Amanda arrives at the space station Sevastopol where (of course) there is a xenomorph on board.

That single, relentless xenomorph is what makes the game so good. It stalks you throughout the whole game and there’s no way to kill it. You’ll spend all your time distracting it with lures, scaring it off with flamethrowers and even holding your breath so it doesn’t find you hiding inside lockers.

Costume Quest is about monsters, candy and childhood

In Costume Quest, you play as one of the Carver twins, Wren and Reynold. As either of them (you can choose which), you embark on a quest to save your sibling after they’ve been kidnapped by the evil Repugnians, monsters who are obsessed with nougat and conquering the human race.

So yes, Costume Quest is a silly and fun game about the wonder of childhood. It takes place during Halloween and deals with themes like friendship, obnoxious rich kids flexing on you with their $600 costumes and getting home in time before your parents kill you.

Doom Eternal is a game where you play the boogeyman

Doom Eternal is a ridiculously gory game about killing thousands upon thousands of demons with lots of different guns and sometimes your bare hands. I could go on about how the rich storytelling of the game feels like a death metal epic poem, blending occult fantasy with dystopian science fiction, but that’s just a bonus.

Really, the game is all about gratuitous (but skillful) violence.

It’s also a sort of reverse horror game. You play as the Doom Slayer, a human warrior so legendary that not even Hell itself could kill him. Instead, the best the demons could do was trap him in a sarcophagus.

In Doom Eternal, the Doom Slayer is wide awake and slaughtering the armies of Hell in retribution for the demonic invasion of Earth.

And, you know, the whole burying him alive thing.

Grim Fandango is a funny and touching detective noir story rooted in Mexican culture

Does death really have to be so grim? Not for this horror game.

Grim Fandango is about Manny Calavera, a travel agent in the Land of the Dead who sets up his clients with packages to take them to the final destination of the afterlife. But his unlife is turned upside down when he discovers a criminal conspiracy preying upon virtuous souls and stealing their heavenly rewards.

It’s a touching, hilarious game set in a beautifully realized world. The game’s design is heavily inspired by Aztec mythology and Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, which is a Mexican holiday honoring deceased family members.

Hades is about death as another beginning — and another one, and another one and another one…

The whole point of Hades is to die. Repeatedly.

It stars Zagreus, son of Hades and Prince of the Underworld, who is determined to leave his father’s realm and find his mother, Persephone. During the course of this quest, you will die constantly, maybe even hundreds of times.

And that’s the point. Each time Zagreus dies, he is brought back home to the House of Hades where he can catch up with allies, get chewed out by his dad and upgrade his abilities and weapons for yet another escape attempt.

Hades has an addictive combat system, gorgeous art and valuable message: Losing is not the end. It’s just the process of getting strong enough to win.

So hang in there.

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